Home featured How to Vote in N.Y.: The Deadlines You Need to Know

How to Vote in N.Y.: The Deadlines You Need to Know

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Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

As the pandemic upends the election season, there’s more attention than usual on the crucial but often mundane civic duty of voting. Still, some New Yorkers may be unaware that the deadlines to register to vote and request an absentee ballot are near.

A record number of New York voters will be able to cast mail-in ballots in a general election that has already seen as many as 100,000 erroneous absentee ballots sent out in Brooklyn. The mishap gave fodder to President Trump’s false claims that the vote-by-mail system is corrupt.

Here’s what you need to know about voting in New York. (You can also consult this guide to find out how to make sure your vote is counted.)

Oct. 9: Friday is the last day most New Yorkers can register to vote, by mail or in person.

Oct. 14: Your local board of elections must receive your mailed-in registration or request to change your address by this date. Those forms, however, must still be postmarked by Oct. 9.

Oct. 27: Voters can request absentee ballots online; by email, fax or mail; or by calling their local board of elections by this date.

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Nov. 2: Voters can apply for an absentee ballot in person by this date.

Nov. 3: Election Day. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date. (Of course, you can also vote in person. More on that below.)

Register to vote in person at your county board of elections or at a variety of New York State agencies, like Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

You can also mail a New York State voter registration form to your county board of elections. You can request a form by mail, or by calling 1-800-FOR-VOTE; or you can print one out, or fill one out online and then print it out.

New Yorkers can vote early for nine days before the general election, from Oct. 24 until Nov. 1.

Not all polling sites will open for early voting. Voters outside New York City can find a list of early voting sites and ballot drop boxes here; and locations in the five boroughs are listed here.

In New York, you can request absentee ballots for a number of reasons, including illness or disability. This year, the risk of spreading or contracting the coronavirus qualifies as a temporary illness, so most voters in the state should be able to get an absentee ballot.

Elections officials recommend mailing ballots at least seven days before Nov. 3 to ensure they are received in time.

The state said it was facing a shortage of poll workers because of the pandemic. Historically, the majority of poll workers in New York are over 60, an age that puts them at greater risk from the virus.

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Poll workers’ duties include preparing polling places, signing in and processing voters, enforcing social distancing and sanitizing voting equipment. Workers are needed during early voting and on Election Day.

Apply to be a poll worker in New York City here, and elsewhere in the state here.


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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.


The city plans to extend a contract to house homeless people in hotels to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. [Gothamist]

A group of men with machetes attacked two men inside a bodega in the Bronx. [CBS New York]

Two dozen people were arrested in Manhattan Tuesday when a protest over the killing of a man by the police in Texas ended in arson and vandalism. New York’s police commissioner called the demonstrators “spoiled brats.” [Daily News]


“Saturday Night Live” aired its first live episode since March over the weekend, but the show’s producers faced a problem. New York State regulations prohibit a live audience for television shows.

As stand-up comics and professional athletes — including in baseball and tennis — can attest, the lack of a live audience can put a damper on one’s performance. The state’s rules on media production during the pandemic say TV audiences must only be made up of paid employees.

So, as The Times’s Dave Itzkoff and Julia Jacobs reported, “S.N.L.” decided to pay its audience.

Sean Ludwig, who attended the “S.N.L.” season premiere last weekend, told my colleagues that he and seven friends each received a check for $150 after the show.

“We had no idea we would be paid before we were handed checks,” Mr. Ludwig said. “We were all very pleasantly surprised.”

Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the state’s Health Department, said the arrangement appeared to be above board.

“There is no evidence of noncompliance,” Mr. Bruno said, “but if any is discovered, we will refer that to local authorities for follow-up.”

It’s Wednesday — the show must go on.


Dear Diary:

I was visiting my favorite aunt in New York City. She had been a librarian before retiring. Naturally, we went to the main New York Public Library to admire its many decorative features.

It felt crowded to us, but my aunt, who was 86, acted as though it were another normal day.

At one point the five of us — me, my aunt, my redheaded wife and our two fair-haired young daughters — were standing in one of the bigger rooms gawking at the ceiling, murals and large windows.

As we stood there between the rows of tables, taking in the breadth of the room and all of its books, a young man who was obviously in a hurry to get wherever he was going came toward us.

“Out of the way, Brady Bunch!” he said.

— Robert Beck


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